For many families, visiting Greenlawn Cemetery in Portsmouth at Christmas, is a tradition.
During the season passersby will see the small, battery-operated lighted Christmas trees and lanterns as well as candy canes and family mementos left across gravesites throughout the 40-acre cemetery. It is a small gesture whereby individuals can show departed loved ones they are not forgotten at Christmas. Many do it every year, citing the importance of traditions and remembrance. It is another way to assist with the emotional aspect of loss and not having the lost loved one with them at Christmas.
On December 9th from 2-5 p.m, the Friends of Greeenlawn Cemetery Foundation (FOGCF) will host the Second Annual Greenlawn Cemetery Open House. This is an afternoon where family members can decorate the graves of their loved ones, while having fellowship with their friends and neighbors. The free-to-the-public event will feature a Remembrance Tree where individuals can place a Memorial Ornament (provided at no charge). It is not required for the friend or family member to be buried at Greenlawn but an opportunity to remember a lost loved one who is buried anywhere.
“Families decorate the grave sites every year and we thought it would be an opportunity to open the chapel and to show how much we appreciate these individuals who support Greenlawn Cemetery,” said Debbie Gambill, president of the Friends Of Greenlawn Cemetery Fund. “ Some of these individuals are getting older and need help getting to the grave sites and decorating. We will have board members available to help them. The Remembrance Tree will remain in place through the new year. Last year the lighted tree was covered with the Angel Ornaments, depicting the names of lost loved ones.”
The Historic Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel will also be decorated for the event with votive candles available for lighting, in remembrance of family members. Melissa Appleton and Barbara Davis, FOGCF Board Members will have the chapel decorated with live greens. The chapel will be the setting for live music provided by the Portsmouth West High School Chorus, Seth Shepherd, Hannah Storey and others. “The chapel will have a large lighted tree inside and individuals can sit and reflect on their loved ones,” Appleton added. “It provides the perfect backdrop for the musicians.”
Vintage inspired hanging lights will highlight the brick streets, where fire pits will be placed to take off the chill, providing an environment where individuals can visit the hot chocolate bar and other refreshments, while listening to the live music.
Barbara Davis of Hoglot Flowers at Davis Farms, will have live greens available for purchase to decorate grave sites should individuals need them. “Last year many participants requested live greenery for their loved ones’ graves and Barb graciously agreed to provide the wreaths and sprays for purchase,” Gambill added.
An event not to be missed once again at Greenlawn Cemetery and in the city of Portsmouth, don’t miss out on an opportunity to remember loved ones and those who are remembered the most during the Christmas holidays.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928